Religion

Imane Naji Amrani is in total party planner mode. She wears a pink dress and matching pink headscarf. Focused and firm, she tells a group of teenage helpers where food should go and hurries to get everything done before sunset.

Every night for the month of Ramadan, families at the mosque in Manchester take turns cooking for the Iftar, the evening meal where Muslims break their fast each night during Ramadan. Tonight is Naji Amrani’s night to cook.

Photo Courtesy Islamic Society of New Hampshire

Seated around a folding table in a mini-mall just south of downtown Manchester, a group of Muslim men have just been Googling the time for sundown. It was 8:14 PM to be exact tonight. Everyone here is waiting to break their fast, which they’ve held since dawn.

In the mid-19th century, the country was in the throes of a widespread religious revival. It was called the Second Great Awakening, and it fostered the founding of new denominations and inspired millions of converts. This movement laid the groundwork for Methodists and Baptists to exponentially in number, and for Joseph Smith to establish his church of Latter Day Saints.

Peter Biello/NHPR

The Islamic Society of Concord has moved into its very own mosque, after 15 years of renting space.

In their new home, congregants now have a private space to meet with the Imam. Men and women can now pray on the same floor, which they couldn't do in the rented space. All Things Considered host Peter Biello recently spoke with Imam Mustafa Akaya about the significance of being able to move into a permanent space. 

Britta Greene / New Hampshire Public Radio

Will Coley walks through the old house in Keene he’s been renovating since September. It’s a work in progress.

He steps over rusted metal tiles and points to ceilings and walls awaiting a new coat of paint.

“This is the mosque,” he says, “this is our place to pray.”


Samantha Fogel

The Islamic Society of Concord is in the early stages of renovating a building on North Main Street to build the first permanent mosque in Concord.

The society currently rents space in the East Concord Community Center.

Hubert Mask is president of the society.  He explains that space is expensive, there are no offices - and it offers no privacy for prayer.

The group has plans to purchase and renovate a small building in downtown Concord, adjacent to the First Congregational Church.

Mask says he knows they'll face some challenges.

Clinton Steeds via flickr Creative Commons / https://flic.kr/p/54ose

An Islamic group says the permitting process for building a mosque has become "Kafkaesque". The town says that's normal for development, but the Justice Department says it's discrimination. What happens when religion and zoning collide?

Plus, a primer on net-metering -- the system that's now the bedrock and rationale for America’s solar industry - and it happened without any planning, strategy or government approval. We'll learn about the accidental origins of solar policy.

Castle Lass / Morguefile

Methodists from churches all over New England met last week at the New England Methodist Conference in Manchester. At that conference, they passed a resolution that attempts to make the broader church more inclusive for LGBTQIA people. It’s a decision that may have deeper resonance now after the attack at a gay nightclub in Orlando last week. Beth DiCocco is spokesperson for the New England Conference and she joined NHPR’s Peter Biello to discuss this resolution.

What is the Methodist Church's position on homosexuality?

A House Divided: Islam in Today's Middle East

May 4, 2016
empty spaces08 / Flickr/CC

While these two Muslim groups have often co-existed peacefully over the course of history, in our time, sectarian differences have risen and boiled over, resulting in conflicts across the Middle East. Our guest is a longtime Middle East scholar who examines the religious, economic, and political factors involved.

Gender Gap: Why Are Women More Religious?

Mar 31, 2016
Rachel Martin / Flickr/CC

A new study finds that while Americans overall are a religious bunch compared to people in other developed countries. Among U.S. women, that commitment is especially high, whether it's attending worship services or daily prayer.  We'll look at this gender-gap, what might be behind it, and what it means for organized religion.

City of Boston Archives via flickr Creative Commons / https://flic.kr/p/bnwScM

Labels get thrown around willy-nilly during primary season...among them? Progressive.  However candidates Clinton & Sanders use the term, its history is not so straightforward. 

On today’s show, the rise and fall of progressive politics. Then, from anti-bullying seminars to the dare to keep kids off drugs program, ushering a gaggle of students into an auditorium or gymnasium for an all school assembly is a time honored tradition. But sometimes the educational value of the message is questionable.

valiantness via Flickr CC / flic.kr/p/fRNWA6

This week, a federal judge sentenced peanut executive Stewart Parnell to 28 years in prison for his role in a deadly outbreak of salmonella…the first ever felony conviction for a food safety crime.  Today, we speak with the investigative reporter behind “Food Crimes” – a new video series examining everything from food borne illness, to the illegal saffron trade. Plus, a baffling new literary trend – why millions of Evangelical readers are snatching up Amish romance books.  

The Technicality Show

Jul 27, 2015

We’ve all heard of a guilty person getting acquitted of crime because of a “technicality”.  What happens when a law professor discovers a judicial loophole that could make for the perfect crime? On today’s show, it’s all about the technicalities, the loopholes, artful dodges and escapes. From how to get away with murder, to how to turn the lights off when your religion prohibits it. Plus, the most expensive typo in American legislative history.

Nic McPhee via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/4zGJzN

Vocal anti-vaxxers like Jenny McCarthy have got some in the science community saying if you don’t have an advanced degree, you have no right to question the experts.  But are they right?

On today’s show, a science journalist makes a bold argument: that free speech trumps good science. Then, we’ll tackle a controversial question for pet owners: whether or not to keep domestic cats indoors in the name of saving birds.

Plus, we’ll find out why more and more Europeans are ditching Darwin’s theory of evolution and embracing creationism.

Listen to the full show or click read more for individual segments.

Aslak Raanes via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/4LD1Y

Today, hell can mean a bad day, other people, or a threat to sinners, but it wasn’t always so. On today’s show: how hell has evolved, from a place of flaming torture, to tangible horrors here in the real world. Then, when Comedy Central announced Trevor Noah as the new host of The Daily Show earlier this week, there was an immediate outpouring of support. But the love-fest quickly soured when screen grabs of a few of his past, offensive, tweets were circulated online. Jon Ronson, author of the new book So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed weighs in on the scandal. 

Listen to the full show or click read more for individual segments.

Sam Rosenbaum / Flickr/CC

With the holiday season in full swing, many turn to their religion for traditions and spiritual meaning. But for a growing segment of Americans, there’s little interest in finding a house of worship.  We’re looking at the trend toward these so-called ‘nones,’  who include not only atheists and agnostics, but folks with a variety of beliefs.

GUESTS:

  Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Scott Brown moved to New Hampshire late last year, and is now locked in a tight race with incumbent Jeanne Shaheen. Whether Brown wins or loses, he’s already having an indirect, but potentially profound effect on his new home state: as the landlord  of a nascent evangelical church in Portsmouth.

Unknown, via Wikimedia Commons

Over the past 25 years, the percentage of people with no religious affiliation has more than doubled, at the same time, the internet has been widely embraced. Coincidence? Today on Word of Mouth: does the internet spell the fall of religion? Or is it more of a correlation than a cause? Plus, we peruse the new release section of the bookstore and notice a trend, Catastrophe 1914, 1914: History in an Hour, 1914: Fight the Good Fight. A look into the downside of treating years as celebrities.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments


Ella Nilsen / NHPR

I was listening back this week to New Hampshire Daily, a half hour NH news program we aired from October, 1989 to February, 1992. I was listening to the programs from the week of 14 May, 1990. Among the news of the day (including the death of Jim Hensen, and Lithuania’s independence negotiations with Mikhail Gorbachev) was a four part series we produced about the Canterbury Shaker Village.

randallbalmer.com

James Earl Carter Junior is better known to the world as Jimmy and to the nation as our 39th president.   Other images appear in our minds as well: a one-time peanut farmer, the man who struggled during his time in the White House and after his presidency, and a humanitarian and global peace maker.  But in a new book, Dartmouth professor Randall Balmer takes a new look at Carter., who he says ‘was capitulated to the nation’s highest office by an electorate weary of political corruption, and enamored, however briefly of Carter’s evangelical rectitude.”  But many who supported Carter’s religi

Ten years ago this week, Rev. Gene Robinson officially became the first openly gay bishop in history. He was elected in June, 2003 and on 7 March, 2004  he was "invested" at a ceremony where the previous bishop (Rev. Douglas Theuner) formally handed the shepherd's crook to him.

  Just days before the investiture, Robinson spoke with John Walters on NHPR's The Front Porch about his election, and the controversy that followed in and around the Episcopal Church. They discuss the transition and what his plans are taking the church forward.

squirelaraptor via Flickr Creative Commons

Lucifer, Beelzebub, the Prince of Darkness…whatever he's called, some seventy percent of Americans believe in the existence of the Devil. That’s according to a 2007 Gallup Poll, and that number has increased steadily since 1990, when only fifty-five percent believed in evil personified in the form of Satan.

Now, researchers are looking at the implications of belief in “pure evil” on psychological and social behaviors.  Piercarlo Valdesolo is Assistant Professor of Psychology at Claremont Mckenna College and contributor to Scientific American’s “Mind Matters” blog, where we found his article, “The Psychological Power of Satan.” 

© Mazur/catholicnews.org.uk

Yesterday, Pope Francis gave a spontaneous and startling frank press conference on a plane ride following his week-long trip to Brazil. In response to a question about gay priests, he said: “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”

This stands in stark contrast to the views of his predecessor, Pope Benedict, who publicly and repeatedly stated that gay relationships were “evil” and “contrary to natural order.”

Here to talk about what might some are saying is a monumental shift for the LGBT community and the Catholic Church is Joe Jervis, the blogger behind “Joe. My. God.”, which covers LGBT issues, the media, and politics.

A Lost Art: One Man Handwrites The Bible

Jun 13, 2013
Laura Glazer

Phillip Patterson is a sixty-three year old retiree from Philmont, New York who’s spent the past 7 years working on a handwritten volume of the entire  – almost 800,000 word King James Bible. Phillip suffers from AIDS and related illnesses, often making the quest slow-going, though he sometimes logged up to eighteen hours of writing a day. He just recently finished the epic manuscript.

The New, NEW Atheism

May 1, 2013

In the wake of 9/11, the faith of many people was shaken to the core… with the help of authors like Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, a movement many referred to as “New Atheism” emerged – pointing a finger at religion as a source of global violence and zealotry.  Now, more than a decade later, the rhetoric seems to have softened.  Our guest today argues that secular humanism is shifting into a new era, paving the way for a brand new conversation about religion and the faithless.

Jews In Toons: A Simpsons Writer On Cartoons and Religion

Apr 10, 2013
Photo by Nick Traveller, via Flickr Creative Commons

Springfield’s evangelical Ned Flanders and Hindu Kwik-E-Mart owner Apu are frequent foils to satirize and explore religious belief systems on The Simpsons -- America’s longest running scripted TV show.  Mike Reiss, four-time emmy winning writer for The Simpsons is interested in teasing out another brand of animated spirituality – Judaism.   He’s presenting “Jews in Toons” -- discovering Jewish themes across Springfield’s twenty-four year history.  His talk takes place at the New Hampshire Jewish Film Festival at Concord’s Red River Theatres on April 14th.

Amanda Loder / NHPR

Billions of Christians around the world are in the midst of Holy Week observances in the run-up to Easter.  Many of these rituals have been in place for centuries. 

But how does an ancient faith adapt to the age of the internet, social networks, and smartphones? 

So far, the answer is “slowly.” 

But a pair of New Hampshire entrepreneurs hope they can speed up the process. 

It’s fitting that the idea for a prayer-based social network came to Jamie Coughlin and his brother Adam while they were parked on a pew at Mass.

Catholic cardinals from around the world are meeting now, as the process of choosing a new leader gets underway at a time of tremendous upheaval for their church. We’ll find out what religious leaders and others in the Granite state are saying about this and what they think it means for the future.

Guests

N.H. Parishioners Celebrate Pope Benedict

Mar 1, 2013
Ali Kuzmickas

Thursday marked the end of Pope Benedict's nearly eight year tenure as spiritual leader of the Catholic Church. In New Hampshire, 150 parishioners attended a noontime mass at St. Joseph’s Cathedral in Manchester honoring the Pope.

A Review of Vatican Two

Dec 20, 2012
enggul via Flickr Creative COmmons

Fifty years ago, more than two thousand bishops, under Pope John Paul the 23rd, set a new course for the Catholic Church, addressing its inner workings but also its role with the world, fostering friendly relations with other religions, for example. But to this day, some feel the Church has yet to fulfill the promise of Vatican Two, while others have downplayed its message - or say that the second Vatican council went too far.

Guests:

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